In every corner of the city, in every neighbourhood, we’ve all got our favourite “neighbourhood spot”. You know, that mom and pop Chinese take out place, or the no frills 2-for-1 pizza place that also sells slices, the coffee shop and bakery. Depending on where you live in our eclectic city, the roster can also include French brasserie, banh mi shop and if you live in The Plateau, Biergarten. That’s right. The lucky folks who live right off Parc Laurier have their own outdoor boozey oasis, serving home grown brews and delicious food. Not just “pub grub” though. Food by renown chef Paul Toussaint. This week I had the chance to check out The Biergarten Belle Gueule and Aux Quartiers Belle Gueule pub.
Who knew you could get delicious pizza and pasta in Chinatown in a space designed by a local award-winning firm? In the past 5 to 8 years, there have been a great variety of new restaurant options in the neighbourhood. You’ve got your local staples of Cantonese cuisine, Szeuchuan, to places pulling fresh noodles and buns and desserts. Now add taquerias, sukiyaki, bubble tea and now Italian to the mix. What do you get? A Chinatown that’s unlike any other. This week I check out Tiramisu, the newest hotspot in Chinatown slinging pizza and pasta.
I’d love to say that the Montreal restaurant scene always finds a way to amaze me, but I won’t. Not to say that I’m jaded and blasé, I’m far from it. But with the kind of culinary talent the city fosters, from new, up and coming chefs that are offering innovation, to the stalwart kitchen veterans who’ve been around for a while, the bar is so high that mind blowing meals are to be expected no matter where you eat. So it’s a great feeling when you step back into a place that you haven’t been to in a while to find that the spot had not skipped a beat and is living up to their established reputation. I had the opportunity to check out Ikanos again to try out their new dry-aged fish menu just in time for summer.
Montreal’s fried chicken scene is happening. We’ve got all types the run the gamut from Korean fried chicken like my faves, Comon, Mon Ami, Corilla, and Dawa, to Southern style at Triple Crown Dinette and Icehouse to everything in between. Now comes a new player in the game. When I first got word of this week’s spot, I was excited. Not only because it was fried chicken, but one the kind that is not represented AT ALL in the city. What do you think of when I say Filipino fried chicken? That place with the dead-eye mascot performing a choreographed dance at a children’s birthday party? What if I told you, there’s a place in Montreal that’s comparable… and dare I say, even better. This week I check out Maffeo’s Fried chicken.
Once upon a time, I was not a fan of brunch. I disliked the idea of having a whole new set of rules and restrictions of what food identified as to be categorized as another meal. But I overcame, no titles will define my meals. Maybe it was just because it was embarrassing to include brunch in the list of meals I ate in a day; breakfast, second breakfast, brunch, pre-dinner, dinner and second-dinner. To be fair, you can’t blame me when Montreal has so many great brunch options. To add to the growing list, this week I checked out the newest location of Tommy Cafe at Fairview Pointe-Claire.
I’ve always joked that dim sum is almost a form of Chinese tapas – small dishes, bite-sized foods easy to share – “chapas”. I recently had the opportunity to check out a spot in Laval that is re-interpreting and re-envisioning modern Chinese cuisine and serving them tapas style. Gon Bui is a young and fun spot interpreting what Chinese tapas would be. Done by incorporating elements from other Asian cuisines to amalgamate and present something thoughtful and new. I’ll drink to that… Cheers? Santé? No, gon bui!
When was the last time you were at Place Bell? Yes, THAT Place Bell, home of the Laval Rockets and host of various events and concerts. I’ve been exactly three times and not for hockey games or shows, but for food. No, not at the concessions or the arena cantine where they serve questionable steamies and overpriced alcohol. Place Bell is home to one of the most happening restaurants in Laval – Gatto Matto. Far from a sports bar with sticky floors pumping out deep fried frozen foods. This spot bills itself as a place who’s “bright and vibrant colors give a WOW factor that will make you feel like in a modern Milan hotel with a girly touch.” Listen, don’t judge me for the fact that I’ve already been three times. Keep reading and you’ll know why.
There are a few things that we Montrealers are passionate about; politics, the great bagel and smoked meat debates, road construction and a good food festival. If you think hard, you’ll be able to remember the times the city was literally a buzz with food-centric events. Hungry hoards of foodies making the trek to different parts of the city all in the name of devouring some of the best dishes by the city’s best culinary talents. One of the biggest Old Montreal food festivals is back after a two year hiatus; Happening Gourmand and it’s better than ever.
Cheers! Santé! Kampai! “When I say sake, you say bomb… SAKEEEEEE…” We’ve all said these things at one time or another. If you’re not Vietnamese (or drank with Vietnamese friends) I’m about to put you on to a new drinking toast. “1…2…3… Yo!” which roughly translates to “1,2,3 let’s go!” This toast is the namesake of the newly opened Vietnamese spot in Laval, 1,2,3, Dzo! A spot that is offering up legit street food eats and an authentic curb-side dining experience. Be honest, we’re all fans of street food and we’re fortunate enough in Montreal to have access to all kinds. From Japanese izakayas, to Korean indoor stalls, Chinese crepes and dumplings and Vietnamese pubs, we’re got them all, and now, we’ve got another.
I recently had to opportunity to check out one of the hottest tables in the city right now. And by “table”, I mean “bar”… as in sushi bar. Okeya Kyujiro is one of the newest Japanese restaurants and it has taken the city by storm. Be honest; have you ever been asked what you wanted to eat and you answered with, “whatever”? You’re in luck, because this spot has you covered. Okeya Kyujiro serves an omakase menu exclusively. This Omakase menu is a 25-course sensory exploration. Short of the assorted 20 piece pre-made sushi box you pick up from your local sushi spot, the omakase menu at Okeya Kyujiro is more than a meal, it’s an experience.